New Mount grads reflect on their college careers
May 24, 2017
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -
Members of Mount Saint Mary College’s Class of 2017 were
overjoyed to receive their diplomas at the 54th annual Commencement
ceremony on Saturday, May 20, after years of dedicated study.
But as the new grads planned for their futures, they hadn’t
forgotten that sunny Hudson Valley day – Saturday, August 24, 2013
– when they first moved into their residence halls. Their time at
the Mount, they say, has molded them into confident professionals,
ready for the challenges of the workforce.
Olivia Bogle of Pine Bush, N.Y. –
In August 2013, Olivia Bogle lugged food, clothing, and her
trusty guitar up the stairs to her new dorm in Sakac Hall.
Since that day, she’s been on the Dean’s List many times, earned
the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges
Award, presented to her peers on a variety of subjects both
academic and social, and taught elementary school students the
basics of psychology through assistant professor Yasmine
Kalkstein’s Beginnings in Psychological Science program.
“I’ve become much more confident in my ability,” she said. “At
this college, we accept everyone for who they are and allow them to
really grow. I’ve accomplished that and I’m ready to go out into
She credited professors Kalkstein, Paul Schwartz (psychology),
and Jane Gangi (education) with helping to shape her into the
pre-professional she is today.
As she prepares to study law in graduate school, Bogle recently
accepted a job in Orange Regional Medical Center’s legal
Bogle started her Mount journey as a history/political science
major, but soon switched to psychology. However, something that
hasn’t changed since Move-in Day is her love of playing the
“It stayed with me all four years,” she explained, “and I’m
happy I still have it.”
Meghan Hartnett of Milford, Pa. – Technology/Digital
When Meghan Hartnett arrived at Mount Saint Mary College in
August of 2013, she was a little shy and a tad reserved.
Four years and at least five theater productions later, Hartnett
excels in public speaking and the performance arts.
She gives much of the credit to James Phillips, associate
professor of theatre, for helping to pull her out of her shell.
“I learned how to be more personable and more caring,” she said.
“I’ve become a better actor and a friendlier person.”
Hartnett hopes to meld her training in technology and digital
media with her enhanced public speaking skills to forge a voice
Tamryn Mistretta of Paramus, N.J. – Nursing
Family has always been an important part of Tamryn Mistretta’s
life. On the day Mistretta moved in to her Mount Saint Mary College
residence hall, her mother and father were there alongside her,
helping to unpack and prepare for her first day of college
Four years later, Mistretta’s parents were honored to present
her with a nursing pin at the college’s annual pinning ceremony.
The event symbolized both Mistretta’s transition from student to
professional, as well has her unwavering devotion to her
“I dedicate this pin to my mom and dad,” Mistretta said. “You
have done so much for me and always with such love. I am so proud
to be receiving my nursing degree with you both here with me.”
The day before commencement, Mistretta reflected on why she had
chosen Mount Saint Mary College.
“It’s a really close-knit community with a beautiful view,” she
explained. “All of our professors know our names and really care
She added, “Four years ago, this day seemed so far away, and now
we’re here. I’m so proud of everything we’ve achieved.”
Stephan Sookdeo of Carmel, N.Y. – Business
As Stephan Sookdeo carried suitcases, boxes, and bags up to his
new dorm in Sakac Hall on Move-in Day 2013, he couldn’t help but
think about his future. What kind of friends would he make? What
study techniques should he use? What challenges would the next four
The future was still on his mind as he headed across the Mount
Saint Mary College commencement stage on May 20, receiving his
degree from Dr. David Kennett, Mount president.
But instead of planning his path through college, Sookdeo, a
recipient of the Senior Class Award for Outstanding Leadership, was
considering the next chapter of his life, with his success at the
Mount to help guide him.
Daria Sullivan of Sparta, N.J. – Psychology
While she unpacked her things in her new dorm four years ago,
Daria Sullivan wondered what kind of people she would meet and
which service programs she might join at Mount Saint Mary
The day before graduation, she reflected on the confident
pre-professional she has become.
“When I came here, I thought this was going to be just a regular
college experience, but it was so much more than that,” explained
Sullivan. “The Mount really changed me as a student and as a
person. I’ve become much more of a leader.”
Sullivan, a Leadership Scholar, recently gave her original talk
“The Psychology of a Vulnerable Leader” to a packed audience of
Mount students and staff members. The presentation had its roots in
the college’s Beginnings in Psychological Science (BiPS) program,
in which Mount students teach elementary school children the basics
of psychology. After joining BiPS in 2014 as in intern and
completing her service, Sullivan continued on as a volunteer and
was quickly promoted to student director of the program.
On June 1, Sullivan will begin her job as a behavioral assistant
at Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. (YAP) of Sparta, N.J. Sullivan
recently interned at YAP through the Mount’s Career Center, opening
the door to the employment offer. She thanked the Career Center’s
Robin Rosenberg, coordinator of co-ops and internships, for her aid
in the process.
While she works, Sullivan will seek a master’s degree at Pace
University’s Counseling Center.
When she received her diploma on May 20, Sullivan said she was
proud to continue a family legacy: her aunt graduated from the
Mount as well, in 1980.
“These last four years have been incredible,” she added.